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Come for the new ‘Star Trek Beyond’ trailer, stay for the new Rihanna song

Rihanna performs during her "Anti World Tour" at Barclays Center in New York in March.
(Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for Fenty Corp.)

Rihanna and Sia previously penned a smash-hit tune about glittering objects floating in the infinity of space. So it’s a natural fit that they’d return to collaborating for the new “Star Trek Beyond” film.

Rihanna has released a new single, “Sledgehammer,” from the sci-fi epic’s soundtrack. The song is in a new trailer for the film, out July 22, and it nails the mix of power and gravitas that the best science fiction offers.

The tune is a ballad, with an unconventional piano progression that builds out to a prog-rap monolith. But it also gives Rihanna lots of room to show off her increasingly virtuosic vocals.

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It’s miles away from the mush-mouthed joys of “Work,” and proof that she can contend with interstellar explosions for sheer force of sound and spectacle. Sia’s writing, too, holds up in this tough format, as befits her interest in cinematic spectacle onstage.

While most Rihanna output has been limited to Tidal, this song is in wide streaming release on Spotify and in the official trailer. For a movie being released in a fog of sadness after the death of actor Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov in the film, this is yet another reason to give it a look.

Watch the trailer for “Star Trek Beyond,” featuring Rihanna’s new single “Sledgehammer.”

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